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Review of BenQ Palette Master Element

Calibrating and profiling a monitor is the key to achieve digital and printed photos with colors and other attributes that resembles the original image as much as possible. For a more comprehensive explanation read my previous article where you will learn more on why calibration and profiling of a monitor is important.

In my studio I use the BenQ SW271 monitor when I work on post-production and one of the benefits with this monitor (and any other monitor from the BenQ SW serie) is the software provided with the monitor, Palette Master Element. For me it makes sense to use the software of the manufacturer of the monitor when calibrating and profiling my monitor.

One of the advantages of using Palette Master Element is the hardware calibration of the BenQ monitor. The convenience of hardware calibration, in comparison with software calibration is that the correction curves from the calibration software will be applied directly to the LUT (Look Up Table) that is located within the monitor whereas with a software calibration the correction curves are applied to the video card. The interest of applying the correction curves to the LUT are that the number of levels per color are higher than on the videocard.

Calibration and profiling

Before starting with calibrating the monitor I advise you to http://solli-kanani.com/2019/01/review-x-rite-i1display-pro/read my previous article on how to prepare the monitor.

Be aware of that the monitor should be connected to your computer not only through the video cable (USB-C, HDMI or DisplayPort) but also through the USB cable using one of the ports on the side of the monitor in order to execute the hardware calibration!

Download the Palette Master Element software here and install it on your computer. Connect your colorimeter sensor to your computer and start the Palette Master Element software.

In the interface of Palette Master Element select the Advanced mode and then click on start. In the Workflow choose Profiling and then click on Next.

Display Settings

In the Display Setting section there are the following parameters to set:

White Point: D65 (6500K), perfect especially for images that will be published online

RGB Primaries: Panel Native, in order not to limit the representation of colors that our BenQ monitor is able to reproduce.

Luminance: 120 cd/m2, if we have selected D65 as White Point. In case of profiling for printing, this value would be too high and better to select something between 60 cd/m2 and 80 cd/m2

Gamma: 2.2

Blackpoint: Relative, that even if it will prevent the monitor to use the maximum contrast available, it will let you have more balanced images 

BenQ Palette Master Element
BenQ Palette Master Element

Measurement Settings

ICC Profile Name: Create a name, I would suggest something that include the date of the day

Profile Version: V2 ICC, to maximize the compatibility with all the software you may use

Profile Type: 16 Bit LUT, to take the most from our monitor

Patch Set Size: Large, that will require a bit more time in profiling but will let you have a more accurate profile at the end of the process

Once the calibration settings are set it is time to proceed with the profiling/measurement process!

Profiling

Mount the colorimeter on the slightly tilted monitor and follow the instructions on the screen. Once the measurement process starts it will take around 10 minutes before the basic results will appear on the screen.

At the end of measuring process, is time to validate our results. Click on Validate Calibrations and wait for the end of the process. Once the operation is complete, you will be able to read a report that will confirm you that our profiling action was successful.

No other actions are required: once the validation is complete, the ICC profile is saved and active.

When validating the calibration I had some issues with my Mac as it said Failed. However after raising this to BenQ they tested the ICC Profile and confirmed it was accurate. They are working on updating the software in order to solve the issue. But most important is that even if it says Failed the data written in the monitor is correct.

Conclusions

I find the software Palette Master Element to be very straightforward and easy to use when calibrating and profiling the monitor. If you have a SW series BenQ monitor there is no reason not to take advantage of it, especially because is the only software that will let you store your calibration on the LUT of the monitor!

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